The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 9

    Groped

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Groped

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery